Exclaim!'s Best of 2014: Top 20 Pop & Rock Albums, Part Two

1. Mac DeMarco
Salad Days
(Captured Tracks)

Love him or hate him, there's no denying DeMarco's ability to elicit strong opinions. But the Instagram-filtered nostalgia of his latest LP, Salad Days, proved that there's far more to DeMarco than meets the eye.

In a musical landscape dominated by earnest naivety, Mac DeMarco's wry self-awareness was a breath of fresh air this year. He embraces any chance to take the spotlight, navigating media appearances with effortless cool while constantly confounding expectations of how young and hungry indie musicians are supposed to carry themselves.

A serious musician who refuses to take himself seriously, his lack of outward ambition causes many to dismiss the Vancouver-via-Brooklyn artist. But aesthetic differences aside, DeMarco proved to be the year's ultimate singer-songwriter, packaging his singular worldview into Salad Days' 11 easy-breezy tracks. He also proved to be one of the year's most capable musicians, tossing off guitar lines as warped as his sense of humour. (Ian Gormely)